Conflict, not COVID, keeping My Father’s Place out

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Conflict, not COVID, keeping My Father’s Place out
My Father's Place on Bryant Avenue before shutting down in 1987. (Photo courtesy of Steven Rosenfield)

Editor’s Note: This article requires several clarifications. Alex Ewen, CEO of Roz Lyn Entertainment Corporation, in an email to Blank Slate Media, said that Michael “Eppy” Epstein, “is not the ‘operator’ of My Father’s Place nor is he the president, an officer, or employee of Roz Lyn Entertainment, the entity that before the pandemic provided live concerts in a supper club in the Roslyn Hotel under the name My Father’s Place.” Epstein, in a subsequent phone interview with Blank Slate Media, disputed Ewen’s claims, saying he is the operator of My Father’s Place and President of Roz Lyn Entertainment Corporation. Additionally, Epstein confirmed that the opinions expressed in the article are his alone and do not reflect the views of Roz Lyn Entertainment Corporation. Ewen also clarified that My Father’s Place suspended operations due to an executive order regarding COVID-19, rather than a dispute with the hotel, as reported in the article. A press release on My Father’s Place’s website said the venue has “been in active discussions with the hotel regarding our future.” The original text of the article is below.

My Father’s Place at the Roslyn Hotel has been out of the live music business since March 17, 2020 — but unlike many music venues, COVID-19 was not the culprit.

Instead, the extended absence is a result of a dispute between the operator of My Father’s Place, Michael “Eppy” Epstein, and the owners of the hotel, Sudhir and Sumeer Kakar.

Epstein said he was looking to renegotiate the terms of the contract he originally signed in 2017 when he reopened the legendary venue in a joint agreement with the hotel.

Epstein said as president of Roz Lyn Entertainment Corp., he wanted to increase his company’s share of the venue’s food and alcohol sales, which is currently 10%. While the final percentage is up for negotiation, Epstein said he also wants to give up his 5% share of the revenue from the hotel restaurant, 1221 at MFP.

“The minute the club opened I was miserable because it didn’t feel like my club,” Epstein said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. “The hotel gave us a very hard time and were not respectful.”

In the meantime, the hotel officially known as the Roslyn, Tapestry Collection by Hilton has used the ballroom that My Father’s Place formerly occupied to host live events under the name Roslyn’s Cellar since April 15 of this year. The space has also been rented for private events.

Efforts to reach the ownership group of the hotel about the stalemate were unavailing.

The hotel is owned by Sudhir and Sumeer Kakar of Upper Brookville. The father-son investor team purchased the former Roslyn Claremont Hotel in 2017 for more than $14 million.

Epstein was president of Roz Lyn and owner of the original My Father’s Place, which drew some of the biggest names in music from 1971 to until it closed in 1987.

The concert hall that was next to Diane’s Bakery & Cafe on Bryant Street hosted prominent acts as they were making their way towards stardom, including Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen and The Ramones.

Along with his professional acumen in the music industry, Epstein brought upgrades to the existing ballroom, which included modern lights and audio to accompany the 2,700-square-foot venue. Epstein’s first show at the hotel under the My Father’s Place banner was in 2018.

The investments made into My Father’s Place were not breaking even as time passed, he said.

“All we did was keep paying money because we only had 10 percent of food and liquor sales, which was low,” he said. “Venues that go in and promote concerts usually get 25-30 percent, but this is what the hotel gave us. The deal did not work.”

My Father’s Place is one of many music venues on Long Island that received money from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, the federal program U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) strongly advocated to help turn around venues affected by COVID-19. Roz Lyn Entertainment Corp. is slated to receive $363,139 in grant funds, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“I don’t believe any of that money has been used for anything because we’re not operating,” said Epstein. ”What would you use it for? I’m not relocating, not establishing or reopening.“

Epstein has been personally promoting music outside of the My Father’s Place name, which is trademarked by him and licensed to the hotel at The Warehouse in Amityville and the Barnum Ballroom located in Island Park.

The relationship between Epstein and the hotel has grown so toxic that he is no longer allowed in his previous business dwelling without prior notice. Originally believed to be a COVID-19 protocol, his most recent experience at the hotel two weeks ago ended in another dispute, according to Epstein.  

“We got to the office and opened it with the key we had,” he said. “We were told by an employee of the hotel who said ‘You have to leave, you can’t be here’. And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘None of this stuff belongs to you anymore.’ I said I’m just trying to get legal documents. ‘You can’t, it’s not yours. You must leave the premises now.’”

When asked if My Father’s Place would host another show at the hotel between now and the end of the agreement in November 2022, Epstein said he expects nothing new.

“It doesn’t look like it now unless a miracle comes,” he said. “It looks like we’ll just be taking all my gear if they let us.”

The hotel’s efforts to maintain the space with Roslyn’s Cellar have caused confusion for patrons who associate the new venue with Epstein’s reputation, he said.

“People call me complaining and I have to say I have nothing to do with it,” Epstein said. “It’s not My Father’s Place, it’s the Cellar. It’s not my club, it’s the hotel.”

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